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Rug Making: Something Old Is New Again

Monday, 10 Sep 2007 | 9:09 AM ET
CNBC.com

If you breezed through a list of the world's oldest professions, somewhere in the top five ( but behind 'that' one) you'll undoubtedly come across 'rug making.' From flying carpets to going out of business sales, the rug making industry is steeped in old world tradition. So what could possibly be new?

How about wool at the price of synthetic? How about more rug for your money? How about 'Asian Fusion'? I know it sounds like something you'd spill on your rug, but Asian Fusion there is, just ask the folks at Nourison in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. Hey, I've walked through the bazaars of the Middle East, I've had tea with some of the best rug merchants the world has to offer, they have nothing on the Peykar family.

Alex Peykar is the principal and founder of the company. He and his three brothers have built Nourison from a small two-location retail operation into the largest maker of area rugs in the world. Their father's name is Nouri. Get it? Nouri (and) son(s). The 'aha' moment for the family came in 1980 when they decided there was more money in making rugs and providing them to retailers worldwide than there was in being a retailer. There are over a million rugs in their Saddle Brook showroom, and more than that in the four or five other showrooms they have around the U.S.

They deal in high end traditional and designer rugs. Rugs that they make in their own factories in China and India. Walk into nearly any good rug or carpet retailer you'll find Nourison product. It's the kind of 'vertical integration' more common to heavy manufacturing than to something as delicate and beautiful as a rug. But that's how the Peykar's have gotten to where they are. Thinking outside the box, taking the traditional and making it new.

Now they're getting into broadloom (which by the way is called 'broadloom' because it's produced on a...???? Yes, a broad loom, who knew?) or wall to wall carpeting.

Wool broadloom at prices that will compete with synthetics. Synthetics of course are made with petroleum products. Petroleum products are expensive these days, and the Peykars have developed a weaving method that allows them to produce wool broadloom, the gold standard of wall to wall, at a competitive price. The old meeting the new.

Rug and carpet making. It's been going on for centuries, just not like this.

MOA is flying its carpet to Wyoming and then Idaho. I wonder if they'll have shag in that motel I'm booked into?

Questions? Comments? mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com